The result of the vote on Friday in the Spanish Congress was no different to the one before - 170 deputies supporting Rajoy and 180 against.
A growing number of regional leaders feel that it is time for the Socialists to reconsider their position and at least try to form some kind of coalition government.
If the political deadlock continues and Spaniards return to the polls, the new campaign would begin on December 9 and last 15 days, meaning the election would fall on December 25.
But both the PP and the Socialists have said they would support a change to the law, cutting the campaign times by half. This would make December 18 the new election date.
That would make more sense than an election on Christmas Day but even still. many Spaniards have no stomach for a third election and it is likely that turnout would be very low whatever day it is held. The result could well be just as inconclusive as the two previous elections and what then? A fourth, fifth and even sixth election wearing everyone down and costing the country millions more euros for nothing.